Shirley Caesar's concert in doubt ... Organiser strapped for cash
Samantha Gardner-Whyte made a courageous leap into event planning and promotions with the probable staging of her ambitious but anxiety-riddled charity concert called Gospel Explosion, to be held on Sunday, April 23.
For the event, Gardner-Whyte has managed to secure international gospel artiste Shirley Caesar to perform. However, the first-time concert promoter worries that she may not be able to come up with the funds to cover the balance of all her concert expenses, including paying the balance of Caesar's performance bill.
"There's one week left and no sponsorship came on board. I've written to several places, and no one can sponsor. I thought I was doing this for a worthy cause. Right now, it feels like I have no option but to put it off," she told The STAR.
According to Gardner-Whyte, she has invested approximately $5 million in the show, and to finalise all her obligations, she will have to fork up another $2.5 million.
"I was doing everything on my own, even though I sought the assistance of several sponsors. But as I go along, I have to be paying this and I have to be paying that. It's like it's a learning process for me because I've never done anything like this before," she continued.
Gardner-Whyte said that she is footing the approximately half a million dollars hotel bill for Shirley Caesar and her team of ten. She said that Caesar's team would require three changing rooms, an accommodation that would require renting tents and air conditioning units, and also that accommodations be made to include limousine service from the airport, to the hotel and from the hotel to the concert venue.
Gardner-Whyte said that those expenses are separate from the booking charge of US$18,500, of which she has already paid the 50 per cent deposit. It is also apart from Caesar's team's travel expenses, which she approximates at US$8,000.
"It's not easy for one person to put on a show. I never know it was so technical and it would be so much," she told The STAR.
Based on contractual stipulations, Gardner-Whyte has up until Thursday to pay the balance of the booking charge.